Fijian national carrier Fiji Airways has marked a further milestone with the arrival of its fourth Airbus A350 widebody aircraft.
The airline’s latest Airbus A350-900 XWB aircraft, christened the Island of Vatulele, completed its journey of 8,520 km from Singapore to Nadi, Fiji, fueled entirely by a blend of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).
This marks Fiji Airways’ first-ever operation using a SAF blend.
Fiji Airways CEO comments
Mr. Andre Viljoen, the Managing Director and CEO of Fiji Airways, expressed his approval for this latest achievement.
He emphasized that this inaugural flight using a SAF blend underscores Fiji Airways’ unwavering commitment to reducing its carbon footprint and securing a sustainable future for the aviation industry.
“As the national carrier of a small island developing state, we are acutely aware of the need for urgent action to combat climate change,” Viljoen stated passionately.
He further acknowledged that the majority of the airline’s carbon emissions stem from jet fuel usage. Therefore, the integration of sustainable fuels is imperative to significantly curbing carbon emissions.
Sustainable Aviation Fuels
Sustainable aviation fuels are derived from renewable and eco-friendly sources, and they boast the remarkable potential to reduce carbon emissions by up to 80% compared to conventional jet fuel.
By embracing these sustainable alternatives, Fiji Airways and other airlines alike can play a pivotal role in the global fight against climate change.
Viljoen’s sentiment echoed the broader perspective of the aviation industry. “Regardless of size, every airline has a duty to contribute to the preservation of our planet,” he asserted.
Pacific Island nations have experienced first-hand the effects of climate change with severe weather events and sea level rise. This strong stance reflects the airline’s proactive approach to environmental responsibility.
While the benefits of SAF are undeniable, the journey to widespread adoption is not without its challenges. Fiji Airways is gearing up to launch a comprehensive global fuel supply tender.
The aim is to secure a consistent supply of SAF, thereby aligning with the airline’s sustainability objectives.
The production of sustainable aviation fuels involves intricate processes, resulting in comparatively higher costs of production—between four to eight times more expensive than conventional jet fuel.
Additionally, due to the nascent stage of the industry, the supply of sustainable fuels remains limited. Many larger airlines, equipped with greater resources, have already secured significant quantities of future SAF capacity.
This situation poses a challenge for airlines like Fiji Airways in ensuring a stable supply.
However, as the demand for sustainable aviation fuels continues to surge, the industry is poised for growth. Investment and production are projected to escalate, rendering SAF more accessible and affordable for airlines.
Viljoen shared, “We are exploring all options, including the potential for SAF production in Fiji.” This forward-looking approach reaffirms Fiji Airways’ dedication to a cleaner aviation future.
Building a Modern and Efficient Fleet
The Island of Vatulele joins the Fiji Airways fleet as the fourth next-generation Airbus A350 aircraft. This addition contributes to the airline’s impressive standing as one of the global leaders in modern and fuel-efficient aviation.
With a renewed fleet strategy, Fiji Airways boasts one of the youngest and most environmentally conscious collections of aircraft in the world.
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